Looking forward to Graduation at The Citadel, 2017

Dismissed

Class of 2015 Dismissed!

Each year in February the questions from a variety of parents pick up. The senior parents are looking toward graduation and commissioning. I’ve added a few notes about the end of the year below.

Keep an eye out for the updated graduation schedule. I checked this morning and the 2016 schedule of events is still posted. You can use that schedule as a guideline for this year but watch for updates. A few general notes:

  • Tickets are limited. For the past several years each cadet gets 8 tickets. They can put their name in a lottery for extras but that is not guaranteed. Sometimes they can get a few from classmates who won’t use their allotment.
  • Since tickets are limited to graduation some families rent a house and have the graduation live stream connected to a large screen TV for the guests who can’t be at the event.
  • It is traditional to send out announcements for college graduation. Again traditionally announcements are sent to anyone who would want to know about this big life event. They are sent out the week of or after graduation. The recipient is not obligated to send a gift when they receive an announcement. It is a good time to announce the commissioning of a graduate who is entering the armed forces. You can also put a card with the new contact information for the graduate since they will no longer use the school’s address to receive mail. These small cards are referred to as “at home” cards to indicate the graduate will be at their new home after a certain date. The tradition of an at home card is an old one and has changed over time as to the meaning. You can read the history here.
  • Many families use the online announcement company Signature. They are nice quality, but a better price than what Balfour offers.
  • Commissioning services happen the Friday before graduation. Be in touch with your senior for the updated details on the ceremony. It is traditional for the newly commissioned second lieutenant to give the person who renders their first salute a silver dollar. You can usually find them online.
  • For those commissioning they will have to order and pay for their dress uniform. That process is usually started by now. The expense surprises many parents.
  • The seniors have to be out of the barracks by Thursday night of graduation week, unless they’ve requested and received an exception. Be sure you plan for this when making your accommodation reservations.
  • Many families give their graduate a Lifetime Membership to the Citadel Alumni Association as a graduation gift. There is a special luncheon for the new Lifetime members during graduation week.
  • Like most big weekends, graduation weekend is a time of great activity. Dress for the weather and for comfort in walking. If the weather is warm many ladies wear light dresses for the commissioning service and long gray line parade. The gentleman wear jacket and tie for the commissioning and more casual attire for the afternoon parade. For graduation, business attire is appropriate, a dress or nice slacks for the ladies and jacket and tie for the gentleman.
  • Saturday morning arrive at the field house for graduation early to find a seat. In 2011 we were given assigned seats. The past several years it is open seating. Saving seats is discouraged. If you have young children attending, bring quiet distractions for them like coloring books and light snacks. The ceremony lasts about 3 – 3 1/2 hours. I played The Citadel version of “Where’s Waldo” with my daughter who was in 6th grade at the time her brother graduated. We had a list of my son’s friends and she tried to find them as they sat waiting for their name to be called.
  • Have a plan of where you are to meet after the ceremony. Some families meet on the floor of the field house some meet outside the building. It is helpful to have a plan ahead of time.

Previous posts about graduation:

Graduation 2015 Notes for Citadel Parents

The Citadel: Tips from One Parent for Graduation

Senior Parent Notes

Citadel Club of Charleston Hosts The Lowcountry Open

lowcountryopen2017c

On occasion I am asked to help promote events. The Citadel Club of Charleston is hosting The Lowcountry Open event to benefit Palmetto Warrior Connection, a charity that supports veterans in South Carolina. While the club is the sponsor of the event anyone can participate.

If you are in a position to be a sponsor, participant, or volunteer, please contact the leadership of the tournament and share this post in your circles. The tournament takes place after Spring semester ends so cadets can participate and/or volunteer as well. Registration opens this week. Late entry fees begin April 16.

The following promotion information was posted to the parent groups on Facebook:

The Citadel Club of Charleston is the owner and host of The Lowcountry Open; a Charleston-based offshore, nearshore and inshore fishing tournament.

Many committee members are directly connected to military services throughout the Lowcountry, the board unanimously agreed the charitable proceeds should benefit veterans. Palmetto Warrior Connection based in Charleston is the title charity for the event. 95% of charitable contributions to the Palmetto Warrior Connection goes to support veterans within South Carolina. 

We trust the sponsors will feel equally honored to help make this tournament a success!

If you would like information about tournament sponsorship opportunities, or know someone who would be interested, please contact the Tournament Chairman: Ty Holland, ’95: info@thelowcountryopen.com.

Additionally, you can see tournament and sponsorship details on the website, www.thelowcountryopen.com.

Everyone is invited and welcomed as sponsors, anglers, spectators or volunteers.

 

 

 

A 1972 grad remembers his Summerall Guard and inauguration experiences

2011 Summerall Guard photo by Stanley Leary

The 2011 Summerall Guards photo by Stanley Leary

When my oldest son deployed in 2012 I began to see the larger network of The Citadel in action. A friend at church, Col. William Buckley, USMC (ret) introduced me via email to a friend of his from his days as a cadet at The Citadel, LTC Walter “Wally” McTernan, USMC (ret), Citadel class of 1972. Wally, as I’ve come to call him, was, and still is, in Afghanistan as a contractor.

While my son was deployed Wally looped me into correspondence with a wide array of Citadel graduates. I sent care packages to some with the help of friends from church Citadel parents, military reporters, and others.

Thanks to Wally I learned helpful advice of what to send deployed service members. Things like Saran wrap that could be used to stop bleeding in the field. I learned how broad reaching The Citadel network really is, even including the clueless mom of a graduate.

I also learned that Wally is a great story-teller and organizer. He coordinates the alumni in country for an annual Muster to honor the fallen graduates. He was recognized by the Citadel Alumni Association for his volunteer work in 2014 being named the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. I also learned of his love of Crystal Light Peach tea.

My son is out of the Army now and working in his new career based in Houston. Wally and I continue to correspond. With the news of the Summerall Guards and the Regimental Band and Pipes marching in the inauguration parade in January Wally’s latest email tells the story of his experience in participating in the Cherry Blossom Festival parade in 1972 and another story of the inauguration of President George Bush in 1989. I am sharing his story it here with his permission.

A story by LTC Walter F. McTernan, USMC (retired), The Citadel class of 1972:

“The 1972 Summerall Guards marched in the Cherry Blossom Festival parade in WDC in early April 1971.  Luckily for me I was in position 1A1 (first squad leader, front rank) – because we were marching behind a mounted unit, and there were a lot of  “horse apple IED’s” on the road.  So I was luckily able to adroitly avoid stepping on/in them.  Of course, keeping established discipline, I did not say anything. I chuckled inside every time I heard a softly muttered “shxt” by someone in a follow-on rank who haplessly “stepped in it” (literally).  After the parade, I noticed the stark visual contrast in color between horse shxt brown and starched cadet FD trou white.

     During the Jan. 1989 Inaugural of President Bush-I, I was assigned on a TAD/TDY basis to be a temporary military aide to the first Drug Czar, Dr. John Bennett. (I was assigned to this post by the legendary Captain (later Colonel) Mike Riley, USMCR (Ret.) ’79, who was a big player in the military committee supporting the Inaugural.  (I served with Mike three times – Okinawa with the 3d Mar Div, HQMC and Baghdad at HQ, USF-I), and that alone ought to have earned me a high level medal.)

     Mrs. Bennett was expecting and was not feeling well, so we departed the Inauguration Ceremony early; got in the VIP sedan awaiting us behind the Capitol, and began to depart the area.  We drove past a contingent of Cid cadets forming up to march down Pennsylvania Avenue in the parade.  Dr. Bennett recognized them as Citadel cadets and commented that the phrase “zero tolerance” (of illegal drug abuse) that he used was a phrase he had borrowed from the late and great MG James Grimsley, USA (Ret.) ’42.  Dr. B. said that he had given a greater issues speech at The Citadel, and he had asked the General what was his policy on drug abuse.  MG Grimsley replied, “zero tolerance.” Dr. Bennett said that phrase really resonated within him and he used it ever since.  Mrs. Bennett commented that a close family friend of hers while growing up was Dr. Ira Rapp (Regimental CO ’70).  Mrs. B. and Ira’s sister were best friends growing up.

     That night I escorted the Bennet’s to dinner at a fancy WDC restaurant before taking them to an Inaugural Ball.  I waited for them in the lobby.  I was approached by the late political humor columnist, Art Buchwald, who had given Greater Issue speeches twice at The Citadel, one of which I saw when I was a cadet.  Mr. Buchwald was a Marine in WW-II, so when he saw a Marine officer, he came up to chat amiably.  He was very funny and unpretentious.  While we were chatting, a gentleman came up to speak to Mr. Buchwald.  Art was clearly continuing to chat with me just to keep this guy waiting.  While impatiently waiting, the poor (figuratively, NOT literally) guy was accosted by a couple of society matrons who hit him up for a donation to their favorite charity.  This fellow was one Mr. Donald Trump, whose own Inauguration we will soon celebrate.  Thus bringing the 2017 SG’s and our world-class Band Company to WDC.

     Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017 to you all. God bless.”

Gifts for Your Cadet

Wearables

Each year at Christmas time and the end of the school year parents of cadets at The Citadel begin to think of gift items either for their cadet or one that has been particularly helpful to their cadet. It’s a bit late for this advice to be helpful for this year’s Christmas but the ideas below will stand for any occasion, including graduation.

Gift Cards for restaurants and movie theaters in the area are always welcomed. Knobs won’t be able to have food delivered to the barracks until after Recognition Day, but they do get into town on the weekends. Popular restaurants include Moe’s Southwest Grill, Mama Kim’s, Jim’n Nick’s BBQ, and Sticky Fingers. There are many more restaurants in Charleston, just call them to see if they offer gift cards. Restaurant gift cards make a nice gift for host families too.

Netflix, Amazon Prime and other online entertainment options are popular with cadets. This gift may be a better option after knob year.

Other gift ideas for cadets include: A watch, coffee maker or hot-pot, good sunglasses, small 6 pack cooler, a good pillow, noise canceling headphones.

If they are a hunter items like a good hunting knife or other equipment.

Some cadets enjoy gift cards for an experience like skydiving, a boat/fishing trip or other activity.

Ideas for the graduating senior include:

Lifetime Membership in the CAA

Citadel Blazer buttons or other jewelry

A nice picture frame with a photo from Ring weekend or other occasion

A Big Red Flag or Company Guidon.

Any number of items from the Bookstore on Campus

Of course for the young grad who will set up their first apartment or home, cash is always welcomed!

Links to previous posts about gifts can be found on this link.

 

A Message to Parents from the Provost office at The Citadel

I’ve been asked by the provost office to share the following message with parents of cadets:

From: Parents Program

Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 12:20 PM

Subject: CONVERSATIONS OVER THE HOLIDAYS

Dear Parents and Families of our Cadets,

We have had a remarkable semester. The largest freshman class on record, weathering Hurricane Matthew, earning the Southern Conference football championship, and being once again named the South’s #1 Public College in our category — I don’t think there is much more we could have fit in over the past few months! Your cadet has truly earned some time off to relax, recharge, and prepare for the Spring semester.

Conversations with your cadet about his or her future over the next few weeks are an important way to support their success. To facilitate these discussions, we have provided valuable information on The Adjutant page of the Parents’ Website. Please use these as conversation-starters with your cadet.

Success at The Citadel revolves around the four pillars of our leadership development program: Academics, Military, Physical Fitness and Moral/Ethical. Although these pillars serve as the basis for our learning environment, the concepts we teach are further reinforced in discussions at home with people they respect.

We hope you will visit our Adjutant page on the Parents’ Website and review the information provided for your cadet’s class. You’ll also want to note key dates for the Spring semester (provided below), which is shaping up to be as busy as the Fall! If we can assist you with any additional information or answer any questions you may have, please give us a call at 843-953-6088 or send us an email at parents@citadel.edu.

Finally, please be aware that The Citadel will be closed from 22 December through

2 January.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Key events Spring 2017:

· 8 January – The Corps returns

· 11 January – Classes resume

· 21 January – First Saturday Morning Inspection (SMI). (This is the first in a series that will culminate with the President’s Inspection on 18 February.)

· 28 February – Midterm Grading Period through 7 March

· 16-18 March – The Annual Leadership Symposium

· 17-19 March – Corps Day Weekend/Recognition Day

· 20-24 March – Physical Fitness and Height/Weight Assessments

· 24 March to 2 April – Spring Furlough

· 10-20 April – Advising and Registration for the Fall 2017 Term

· 14-16 April – Easter Weekend

· 26 April – Final Exams Begins

· 06 May – GRADUATION!

Winter Furlough Notes for Citadel Parents

the-citadel-luminaries

Luminaries light a path toward 2nd Battalion December 2 after the Candlelight Service in Summerall Chapel

Winter furlough begins today for cadets at The Citadel. A time to celebrate to be sure.

Some will be thrilled with the grades their cadet achieved this semester. Others will not have fared that well and you’ll most likely have questions. The notes and links below should answer most of your questions. The links below will also bring you to the pages to find contact information for the appropriate person or department to address your questions. While this advice is manly for first year families, parents of cadets in all years may find the links helpful

If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll already know this next bit of information. As I mentioned in this post from 2012, the beginning of second semester is tough for all cadets, knobs to seniors. They’ve just spent close to a month at home visiting with family and friends. Coming back to cadet life, getting up early, PT in the cold dark days of winter, is a tough reality.

For parents of knobs, if your son or daughter hasn’t questions their decision to attend The Citadel before, January and February are the months you may field that call. If you do get “the call” remind them that they are stronger than they think they are, encourage them to talk to their classmates. Once they talk to their classmates and other friends in the Corps they will realize they are not alone. It’s still tough but they will get through it. Remind them that Recognition Day is not too far off, March 17, this year.

This experience is so common the cadets have a name for it, the PG version is F’d up February. It is also tough when their friends decide for a variety of reasons not to return.

If you are a family with a student who has decided to leave The Citadel, I wish you and your student the best in their next endeavors.

My best wishes to all The Citadel cadets and families this holiday season.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah-Chanukah, Happy New Year!!

summerall-chapel-at-christmas

 

 

An Update for Long Time Followers

Long time followers of my blog will know I have not been updating here as often as in previous years. You see, I’ve been debating whether it’s really been helpful, or if my blog posts interfere with what The Citadel administration wants to do now that they have a parent liaison in the Provost office who updates the Parent page on the school website.

To put to rest any questions I wrote to Captain Taylor Skardon to ask what he would like me to do. I offered to pass long the parent Facebook groups that I administer and to refer all parent questions to the Citadel Family Association and to Capt. Skardon.

On Friday, Dec. 2, I met with Capt Skardon, Shamus Gillen of the admissions office and the Citadel Family Association staff liaison and two officers of the CFA. At that meeting I was asked to be the new Area Rep Coordinator for the CFA. The area rep position can be filled by the parent of a graduate, unlike the company and battalion reps. While the details of how this will proceed are still being worked out, I will now be an official volunteer with the school, in addition to already being the Parent Committee chair of the Atlanta Citadel Club. The basic idea is to have a working relationship to bridge The Citadel Family Association with local alumni clubs and the Citadel Alumni Association. In the months ahead more information will become available about how to get involved.

Bottomline, I will now proceed with official approval.

 

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